Worcestershire Arts Partnership Blog

Friday, 26 May 2017

WAP Newsletter May 2017





WAP is really excited about what is taking place with Meadow Arts, an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation working in our region. They do great inspiring work and we spent some time with them.

Hi – tell us more about who Meadow Arts are and what you are presently doing?


Meadow Arts produces exceptional contemporary art projects in unusual places, curating large-scale exhibitions and commissioning arresting new artworks. We do not have a venue of our own, and instead work in partnership in a variety of host locations. The current project at The Hive, with artists Heather and Ivan Morison, is a case in point.

We put on one main exhibition annually and run a range of Meadow Projects throughout the year across Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire, as well as delivering our education programme Meadow Arts Inspires. The exhibition this year is called Synthetic Landscapes: re-viewing the ‘ideal’ landscape. It opens at Weston Park on 4th June and runs until 3rd September, with commissions from major artists such as Pablo Bronstein, together with borrowed work from Edward Chell, Ged Quinn, Ryan Gander, Salvatore Arancio and several others. Running alongside the show at Weston Park, will be another element hosted by Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery (24 June – 3 September), where emerging Midlands artist David Bethell will curate some of the collection as well as exhibit his own work.


Tell us more about the work you are doing at The Hive – it sounds great!


This project came about through the new 1000 Days Arts Strategy for Worcestershire. We are partnering with The Hive to commission two internationally famous, locally-based artists to create a new piece of work that will celebrate The Hive’s 5th anniversary. The artists are duo Heather and Ivan Morison, who began a special residency at The Hive in March 2017.

The artists are fascinated by the venue, which was the first joint university and public library in Europe (opened July 2012), and the intersection between academia and civic life. They have met with staff, University of Worcester (UoW) students and users of The Hive to gain an understanding of what the venue means to its audience. They will use this information as the inspiration to develop a new piece of art that will be installed in the late autumn of this year. It will remain on site, for people to experience for anything from 6-36 months, during which time Meadow Arts will deliver many more activities that involve the Worcestershire community.


The Morisons will work with Fine Art students from UoW in producing the piece of art, allowing the students to gain a unique experience and insight into how an artist works, including special one-to-one sessions with the artists, where students will be able to discuss their own work and ideas.


Images of the Morisons’ work – 'Will You Please Be Quiet, Please'





‘How to survive in the coming bad years' Meadow Arts commission at Attingham Park, 2008


And how can the arts community get involved in this?

Heather has now met with various different groups in and around Worcester, as well as giving a recent Garage Open Lecture Series talk and meeting the arts community at The Garage Studios. For the next few months Heather and Ivan will be busy back in their Weobley workshop creating the final piece. It will be installed at The Hive in October /November-time, when we very much hope the arts community can come along to the opening event (invites will be circulated via WAP) and then get involved with activities associated with the piece, as well as providing Meadow Arts with their feedback, thoughts and ideas on the project.


What does WAP mean to you?


We have been members of WAP for well over seven years now. To us it means a network of great, friendly people who we can talk to about new ideas, current arts issues, examples of best practice and potential future collaborations. It is a human resource of like-minded creatives, who offer mutual support, access to new audiences, opportunities and sometimes funds, as well as laughs along the way.

What excites you most at the moment?

Some of the work that is emerging from graduate shows, such as New Art West Midlands and Moving On, Staying On, excites us the most. It is so stimulating to engage with raw, new talent; to become excited and inspired by the next generation of artists. It’s also very rewarding when we see some of the names of recent graduates we have supported (such as Natalie Ramus from Hereford College of Arts) moving forward in the world of contemporary visual art.

To show our support for young, emerging, local artists, Meadow Arts will extend the Meadow Arts Prize this year to include Worcestershire. For the first time a winning student from the 2017 UoW graduate show will receive a £250 donation towards their studies, and
two mentoring sessions from the Meadow Arts team over the coming year. The winner will be announced at the Graduate Show on 18 May.


We are also excited by the very positive response we get from ‘big name’ artists who continue to find artistic stimulation working out here in the West Midlands. Most of them are quite happy to leave London and other usual hunting grounds to address the amazing venues we work in across this region.


And what is your greatest challenge?


As a small company based in Ludlow, with just 4 part-time staff and covering three counties, our greatest challenge is getting everything done! On the plus side, there’s never a dull moment!

Funding of course is always an unknown. We are very lucky to receive funding from Arts Council England as one of their National Portfolio Organisations (NPO). They have been supportive since the very beginning of Meadow Arts, 15 years ago. Right now, we are on tenter-hooks until 27th June, while we wait to hear the outcome of our latest NPO application.

We cannot rely solely on ACE and funding in the ‘provinces’ is still hard to come by. With WAP and other regional networks we must continue to demonstrate the huge value of the arts: the returns on investment are enormous and the power of art is demonstrable. We must all continue to make the case that arts and culture are vital to society, the economy and our well-being!


 Other News


Arts Council and other funding success


It has been a great month of funding success for WAP partners. First of all The County Arts Service received two awards from the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner to run programmes of activity for adults and young people who have either committed low level crime or are at risk of doing so. The funding is worth £31,000 and we will be starting the process of recruiting artists very soon.

WAP also received £20,000 from the Arts Council to run two years of programmes for our Jump Start initiative to showcase new writing and performances in our county.

Museums Worcestershire

First of all Museums Worcestershire will develop two new exciting, creative projects to re-engage with young audiences aged 11-16 years, attracting them & their families to re-discover The Commandery, exploring its stories in new ways.

CIVIL WAR STORIES will be a show for young people aged 11-16, bringing the stories of the Civil War to life. Led by dramaturges Jonathan Darby & Ruth Richardson, we will create & test a new piece of theatre for Worcester schools.

PAPER REBELLION will work with young people aged 11-16 through workshops led by artist Emily Wilkinson. The project will explore Civil War themes of protest & propaganda using collage, found text, maps & materials from the museum’s collection to create an installation at The Commandery. Total grant award is £3000 the Elmley Foundation,£14950 ACE Grants for the Arts.

The Hive

The Hive and Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service have been awarded an Arts Council Grants for the Arts Award of £45,000 to develop an art installation, workshops and digital touring exhibitions based on the Palaeolithic era. The project will compliment an exhibition funded by the Heritage Lottery fund and will be at the Hive in June 2018. We are delighted to have been successful and look forward to starting the project in the autumn.










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